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Everything posted by Unconquered

  1. This is Phil Oliver. I have no intention of wasting time in a prolonged discussion here, but to set the record straight on a few items: first, my CD-ROM has been fully legally licensed and sanctioned for years now. (I sell it, as does ARI via the Ayn Rand Bookstore.) Any suggestions to the contrary are at best ignorant and at worst libelous. With very few exceptions, the feedback that I've gotten has been strongly positive, and by almost all accounts, the CD-ROM has been of significant benefit to those studying the world's greatest philosophy from history's greatest genius, which was my intention. Regarding any of my comments on Dr. Peikoff, if anything I say is incorrect, then feel free to correct them - if you actually know them to be incorrect. When I said that he does not value the CD-ROM, that is a statement of fact, to the best of my knowledge (and I know more about it than you.) In fact, I doubt that he would hesitate to even say so if directly asked. If I have some negative assessment about the man, it's after a slow process of discovery, after years of defending him (and Ayn Rand and ARI) against smears from the likes of Diana Hsieh (whose shrill "reformation" is unconvincing.) My respect for Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and ARI is undiminished. I will, sometime, give the "full story" regarding why I'm not going to pursue renewing licensing for the product, but it will not be here, and it will probably not be soon - but I will say that I am hardly the first person (including a number of individuals associated with ARI) who's been alienated by him. Dr. Peikoff is highly intelligent and has done some great things, most notably writing OPAR, to his everlasting credit, but I suggest that it's unwise to iconify him, and to beware of those who place personal alliances and agendas over facts and logic.
  2. Apparently the Chinese haven't been informed of this, viz: http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/38810.htm http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/44506.htm http://www.chinatoday.com/org/cpc/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_China http://www.bartleby.com/65/co/CommunisChi.html Re: executions, let's see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1425570.stm That was 2001, pretty recent. Since China has literally tens of thousands of censors and the press is completely controlled - one of the hallmarks of a dictatorship identified by Ayn Rand - that does not of course count unreported deaths. http://www.ecoi.net/pub/dh1850_02005chi.htm A 2001 New York Times article on the subject. http://www.justresponse.net/Wang_Zhang.html Speaking of censorship, this demonstrates the difference in Chinese-government sanitized Google queries on images of Tiananmen Square vs. the U.S. accessible version: http://www.computerbytesman.com/google/ima...h.htm?tiananmen
  3. This is ridiculously understated. The Chinese government, if anybody has forgotten, is *communist*. *Anybody* for *any reason* could be executed. Expecting justice from such dictators is ludicrous. Selling the organs of the murdered victims of such a government is utterly monstrous and evil.
  4. One thing I would note is that it would not necessarily be a good idea to trust the security of Gmail too much. Google archives practically all data, even "permanently deleted" emails, meaning that anything you ever send or receive from Gmail will forever be subject to future possible hackerish intrusions into their systems, as well as government subpoenas at any point in the future for whatever reason. See, e.g.: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060317-6406.html. From that article: Baker is a Gmail user and apparently used Google's "Delete Forever" function in an attempt to get rid of all record of the e-mails. However, in the GMail terms of service, Google says that it may store deleted e-mail in its "offline backup systems" for as long as it desires. I'm not focusing on the apparent criminality of the person involved, but on Google's stated policy.
  5. Interesting, thanks for the information. I'm glad to hear that it was fully intentional. It must be a highly competent group of demolitionists.
  6. I looked at the some of the photo sequences you mentioned and it appears that the building had a noticeable tilt as it was falling in some of the shots, as though it had a significant sideways velocity (tipping over) rather than just collapsing downwards. Did you hear any commentary about that? Presumably the best planned implosion would result in the building strictly falling down and not tipping sideways, which would be a cataclysm.
  7. Not to mention that the person you quoted is so out of touch with reality that he apparently doesn't realize that Yaron Brook doesn't have a *Brooklyn* accent - he's from Israel.
  8. If anybody really wants to defend the patent absurdity of the entire universe - not just matter, but space itself - "expanding" from a singularity (no, not just "a few millimeters", which is silly enough, but a literal zero volume), feel free. If you want some excellent context and commentary from an Objectivist scientist (Stephen Speicher) however, I commend you to this thread: http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...indpost&p=15699 But regardless, the essential idea of an "expanding universe" necessarily implies creation ex-nihilo. From, and into, *what*, is the universe expanding?
  9. No - simply almost every single thing I've ever heard/read about it. (There are a few exceptions, such as the notion that our universe is one among an infinitude and just a bubble embedded in some larger super-universe, but this is equally arbitrary.) Consideration of the idea as absurd is from an Objectivist standpoint, which is not exactly common among cosmologists. There are good arguments that black holes, as currently presented as an outgrowth of Einstein's General Relativity, are also absurd because of the central singularity idea which implies a zero volume of the black hole - but you will not find many physicists disputing black holes. (The Big Bang notion also relies on the idea of the entire universe starting from a singularity, i.e. zero volume, and if that isn't "ex nihilo" what is??)
  10. Every quote from every actual scientist that *I* have ever read or heard indicates that the (philosophically absurd) idea of the "Big Bang" is exactly creation ex-nihilo. Who, and what theory, says otherwise? References please.
  11. They say memory is the second thing to go ...
  12. A guy who got drawn to the power of the (illegitimate) office and turned into a full fledged power luster, rationalizing that he was "doing good" - is my take on it. Somebody once said (insightfully) that Greenspan took the job that John Galt turned down.
  13. I don't see any "invasion of privacy" involved. The real issue is whether a forum owner *should* be held responsible for the comments of others. Actually to a degree, they should. If their forum - which is under their control - sanctions the posting of material which libels somebody, and permits it to be displayed after the content has been pointed out to them, then they are actively abetting an illegal act. Same principle as hosting pirated videos for downloads. Who's going to argue that the only responsible party is the uploader, if the one paying for the hosting is informed of the content and fails to remove it? Now, it is illogical to say "original poster vs. the forum owner", as this law apparently says. They should *both* be responsible parties, with different responsibilities per the different context.
  14. Prohibiting the construction/storage/deployment of potential weapons of mass destruction in a way that protects the right of people to not to be incinerated by a screwup or deliberate malice, would be the proper role of a rational government. To fail to do so would be a default on its responsibility to protect rights. It would be as proper as forbidding somebody from walking around downtown Manhattan while they carry cannisters of chemicals that have some legitimate productive use, but which act as a nerve gas if released. It's an issue of *context*. The view that "anybody should be able to do anything and own any weapons they want, in any quantity", is a distinctly Libertarian view, often expressed. Do not confuse it with a position compatible with Objectivism. And make no mistake that a nuclear device of the future for ostensibly peaceful uses is still quite the potential weapon. This is a general principle not restricted to "exotic" technologies. Nobody should, for example, be driving around a dumptruck full of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the middle of a large city. There aren't any fields to fertilize there and there is no rational purpose for it to be there, but it poses an enormous threat if mixed with some fuel oil and shocked, when it becomes a high explosive. (This is what was used in the Okla. City bomb.) One more P.S. now that I think about it: My granting the possibility of a future legitimate private use of nuclear devices does not mean that I endorse the idea of "private armies" and other such nonsense. I'm sure they'll be handy to help clear Lunar mountains out of the way.
  15. None of your "interpretations" were correct. What you responded to, and the insults you made to Dismuke, have no bearing on what he wrote, or on reality. Does that 'clarify' it for you?
  16. Well, sure. As far as I know, *absolutely nothing* used by the U.S. military is actually built by the U.S. government. Nominally private companies - acting under very stringent controls by the government (I've worked for such companies, you can bet that they don't do "whatever they want") - actually design and construct these weapons per government requirements. Does anyone think that the contractors building weapons systems for the U.S. government - not just nuclear, but jet engines, advanced electronics, radar, advanced materials, you name it - have a free hand to sell that technology to, say, Iran or North Korea or even nominally U.S. allies? Think twice. You can say they are "private" companies but they are, to a significant degree, under defacto government control, and in this case, I don't think that's a problem. The Pantex plant in Texas is the sole site for dealing with the assembled nuclear warheads. See: http://www.pantex.com/ds/pxgeng.htm From that website: "Pantex Plant is America's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility. Located on the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, 17 miles northeast of Amarillo, Pantex is centered on a 16,000-acre site just north of U. S. Highway 60 in Carson County." On Google maps, it's here: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&sll=...416606,0.651627 the gray area in the middle of the map. It's pretty far away from a small city, Amarillo, and a very long ways from a major population center. They weren't stupid and weren't going to put such a place in the middle of e.g. Los Angeles, which was my point re: a private company doing whatever it wants, wherever it wants. P.S. I don't mean to imply, on re-reading this, that a future nuke-creating private company *would* be so stupid as to put their production in a major population center, only to stress that the only (basically government controlled) one in existence now *is not* in such a place by design, and it's entirely legitimate, in the future, for there to be explicit restrictions on the construction and use of these immensely powerful devices in order to protect rights, a legitimate government function.
  17. On top of this, I would add that the current U.S. reactor designs can be made much safer yet again with new ideas that have been developed in the past 40+ years, such as "Pebble Bed" reactors. There are designs that *cannot* go out of control inherently. That's not even counting the probability that practical fusion reactors are likely to appear within 100 years (hopefully much less), which will obsolete fission and coal and oil for electric power generation.
  18. The issue is the government acting in its role to protect rights. As long as it can be shown that using a nuke isn't going to violate rights, then its use should be ok (given some hypothetical rational future.) But given their immense destructive potential, I think there ought to be a certain legally mandated level of pro-active effort to demonstrate their safe storage and usage by any organization wanting to do so. An H-bomb constructed in the middle of Los Angeles is not a potential violation of rights, it *is* a violation of rights by constituting a reasonable clear and present danger. There is every justification to keep it out, and none to build it there. They could be constructed and stored in secure facilities in a desert, or in space, on an as-needed basis - it isn't like you'd need lots of these things at once. I would also say that until there's a big change in the world, no private organization should be permitted to construct and own nuclear devices. There's too big of a threat that they could be acquired and deployed by terrorists or terrorist countries.
  19. I haven't look at this game but it sounds a lot like Outpost. Is there a connection?
  20. There's a definite issue of courage involved on the newspaper's part - on the other hand, they make a valid point that should not be dismissed entirely, and I think this is something being overlooked by most Objectivists. If these barbaric scum are using force and violence anywhere in the world - and they are, to whatever degree they can get away with - then fear of violent retribution is legitimate on a newspaper's part. Is this entirely their problem? I don't think so. What this indicates is the massive default on the part of the agency tasked with dealing with threats of force - the government. The only reason the scum represent a threat is because the U.S., and other Western, governments have had a completely inadequate response to the known home bases of the terrorists - Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Would *you* put your name and address on a reprinting of these cartoons if you had reason to think that uncontrolled terrorists would go out of their way to look you up? A threat to freedom of speech - and the broader issue, the threat to all freedoms and the very existence of the U.S. - is exactly a problem in the domain of a government more interested in controlling its own citizens than dealing with the threat at its source.
  21. This thread is very ironic, since I just watched Grizzly Man (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/) last night - a documentary about a guy who lived among bears for some years, with plenty of nauseating video of himself cooing to the bears in the most anthropomorphic way imaginable. He (and his then girlfriend) were finally attacked and devoured by a hungry Grizzly bear. If you really want an up-close and personal view into the psychology and behavior of an ardent environmentalist wacko, it's a perfect documentary.
  22. "Breaking into your house to gain information is not a violation of rights. All houses are widely understood to be mutually interconnected by a network of public roads so there is no guarantee of the safety of anything traveling over it, including burglars who wish to break your locks and forcibly enter your home." Another analogy would be: Most roads are public roads, therefore you have no expectation that a carjacker won't force you off the road, break in to your car, and steal it. And yet another analogy: Virtually every phone in the world is interconnected. Therefore it's ok for anybody to tap your phone line and record and disseminate your phone conversations; you shouldn't expect otherwise, and it should be legal to do so.
  23. If somebody snooped on what was intended to be private communications, even going so far as to hack encryption, it certainly should be illegal. There is certainly no "right" for anybody to get private information that was not publicly offered to them by the person creating the information, who has an implicit ownership of it until they choose to make it public, or it becomes public through their own outright negligence. Hacking encrypted private communications would most certainly be a criminal act of force, no less than breaking into somebody's house and taking pictures of the contents. To quote from Howard Roark's courtroom speech: ""It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
  24. Haven't you heard? It's the result of the government's new message tax ...
  25. For once (I adamently disagree with your opinions on various founding fathers of the U.S.), I have to agree with you. This is a good identification of the way that some people use that article to justify NASA.
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